By Ronald Mpaso:
The Carlsberg Cup quarter-final party was concluded Sunday in Blantyre and Lilongwe, with Be Forward Wanderers and Masters Security completing the semi-final line-up.
This leaves the country’s soccer fraternity with four more bottles to guzzle as the two teams joined defending champions Nyasa Big Bullets and Southern Region Football Association Premier Division side Hangover who qualified on Saturday.
One interesting development in the competition is that crowd -pullers Bullets and Wanderers will not meet until the final, if they make it that far.
This was known after a draw conducted by Football Association of Malawi officials halfway through the Wanderers and Tigers match at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
The draw has pitted Wanderers against giant killers Hangover on October 6 in the first semi-final while Bullets will face Masters 24 hours later in the second.
Wanderers and Masters reached the last-four through post-match penalties. This leaves Hangover as the only team to have gone through in regulation time as Bullets also made it courtesy of sudden death.
Wanderers progressed after a 5-4 beating of Tigers, with Masters edging Mafco 4-3 in a match played at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe.
Tigers were the first, to score through Anthony Namwera but the Nomads equalised through Esau Kanyenda to send the match into penalty kicks.
In the Lilongwe match, Kingsley Nkhonjera scored for Mafco from a free-kick before Juma Yatina grabbed the equaliser from the spot.
Amadu Makawa gave Masters the lead with a header but it was short-lived as Mafco also equalised from the penalty spot through Maurice Chiumia.
Reacting to the semi-final draw, Masters Coach Abas Makawa said his team can stop Bullets with good preparations.
“We have developed a thick skin having come this far. We must be ready for any team that comes our away. We have the players to take us there,” Makawa said.
Bullets Team Manager, James Chilapondwa, said he expects an attacking game against Masters as both sides believe in winning games by big margins.
“As defending champions, the pressure will be on us but we will deploy our best troops on the battlefield and find our way to the final,” Chilapondwa said.
Hangover Coach, Alfred Chikwanje, said wins against Moyale and Blue Eagles have galvanised his charges and they are not developing cold feet at the prospect of facing Wanderers.
Wanderers Team Manager, Steve Madeira, said he expects Hangover to be tough customers after ousting two Super League sides.
“The fact that they have made it to the last-four means that they are good. We cannot take them for granted. We must prepare for them like we do when facing our fellow giants. They could even be tougher than Tigers,” Madeira said.